bobby smith - fact file

1955 - 1964            forward

Born on 22nd February 1933 in Lingdale, North Yorkshire, England.

Height : -  . m  (5' 10")

Weight : -  kgs  (12st  11lbs)

A barrel-chested striker from Yorkshire, Bobby Smith made his way to Tottenham Hotspur via Chelsea to make a telling contribution to the club's history during the successful years of the early 1960s.

'Rugged' is a term that might have been made for the approach Bobby took to the game, famously noted for his terrorising of opposing goalkeepers, but what is sometimes over-looked is his ability to score from any situation with the most delicate of touch when required.

Smith's early life was perhaps typically of many in Yorkshire, as he was educated in Lingdale Council School and then followed his father in working at the local ironstone mine (where he worked for a year before joining Chelsea full time).  He started out as a full back at Redcar Albion and for Redcar Boy's Club before he came to the attention of football scouts.

Starting his career when he left his Yorkshire home as a boy to join Chelsea in 1948 (initially farmed out to a nursery team - Tudor Rose), there was a notoriety building up around the striker, who hit a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup final of 1950 (against Spurs !) and his inclusion in the England Youth squad that travelled to an international tournament in Hungary that summer.  Smith's initial success in the side was fading and he was finding it difficult to get a game in place of the experienced striker Roy Bentley and he played only four matches when Chelsea won the First Division Championship for the first time in 1955.  With Tottenham struggling at the bottom of the First Division and in the need of goals, manager Jimmy Anderson approached the Stamford Bridge club to sign Smith for 16,000.  The new man did the trick with the goals that kept Spurs up and also helped the side reach the FA Cup semi-final that season.  Bobby had to wait from December 24th to January 21st to score his first goal, but such was his presence that he was made captain for the last game of the season as recognition of his contribution to the side.  He thrived on the responsibility and hit a hat-trick against Sheffield United.

Smith found Tottenham to his liking with supply from the wings and his 36 league goals in 1957-58 equalled the goal-scoring record for the club at the time.  That gave him the position of leading scorer in the top flight for the first time and Bobby also topped the scorers in the First Division in 1958-9, sharing the title with Chelsea's Jimmy Greaves, the player who would become his partner up front at White Hart Lane and for England and eventually take the record for most goals in a season from him.

As with many players at the club at that time, their best was really brought out when Bill Nicholson took over as manager in 1958 and made the most of the players he had, adding some new faces to produce the Double winning side of 1960-61.  Bobby had already been recognised as a striker to cause problems to foreign defences, when he was selected to play for London in the first Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.  This was a group of players drawn from across the capital to feature against the best Europe could offer and he was in the side that took on Barcelona in both legs of the final, but were ultimately unsuccessful.

It was also in 1958 that Smith won his first England call up.  Selected for the World Cup squad in 1958 he didn't get his first cap until 8th October 1960, when he scored against Northern Ireland within 16 minutes in a 5-2 win in Belfast.  His style was not always appreciated and his time in the national ser-up only lasted three years, playing 15 times and scoring thirteen times.

During that 1960-61 season, it all clicked for the team and Bobby made the most of the chances that came his way, top scoring with 33 goals and hitting a goal in the FA Cup Final against Leicester City, as he did the following season against Burnley.  His goal-scoring saw him take the club's record with a hat-trick against Blackpool in August 1960 passing George Hunt's total.

The season following the Double win, Smith was partnered up front by his England striking partner Jimmy Greaves, who had also been at Chelsea in the 1950s.  The two had great fun scoring at will and while the success in the coming years was limited to cups, the goals flowed incessantly.  Smith's physical style complemented the nimble assets of the goal-poacher Greaves and they created chances for each other and were a hit with the Spurs fans.   Bobby scored in both FA Cup final wins in this period and his nimbleness in the penalty area when a shot was on, sometimes seemed at odds with his size.

His style had rarely been seen in Europe and he put the fear of God into the goalkeepers of the sides who faced Tottenham in the 1962 European Cup and European Cup-Winners Cup in the 1962-63 season.  In the days when it was possible to make physical contact with keepers, Bobby made sure they knew he was there and consequently, they were always apprehensive about future crosses, thinking he was going to bump them as they came for the ball.  Smith was smarter than that and made sure that he got to the ball first, often risking injury by throwing his head into situations that might have lead to him being on the end of a fist or boot.  Smith's record in London derbies for Spurs and Chelsea was outstanding, having scored 32 goals in all.

Bobby's never say die attitude and willingness to play on with injuries (notably the 1961 FA Cup final, when he had a pain-killing injection to get him through the game after sneaking out of the hotel) landed him with a lot of pain in his later years at White Hart Lane and later in life too.  He needed to have knee replacement surgery to ease the pain of walking. 

On leaving Spurs, Smith joined Brighton and Hove Albion, where he had a short stay, but one in which his goal scoring stood up to his former per game ratio and he helped the Seagulls to the Fourth Division title in his second season.  Moving down the pyramid to non-league, although he did have a trial with Orient in March 1967, but he continued playing until his legs would no longer let him - even turning out in numerous charity games.

Having retired from the game, Bobby Smith regularly appeared at White Hart Lane and lived happily in Palmers Green, not far from where he lived when a Spurs player.

Bobby Smith died on 18th September 2010 in Enfield, North London.

NICKNAME : 

MIDDLE NAME :  Alfred

Career Record
 
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Redcar United ?? ?? ??  ?? ??
Chelsea May1950 ?? 4th September 1950 v Bolton Wanderers (away) 86 30
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 21st December 1955 16,000 24th December 1955  v Luton Town 317 208
Brighton & Hove Albion 19th May 1964 5,000 ??  31 19
Hastings United October 1965 ?? ??  ?? ??
Banbury United ?? ?? ??  ?? ??

Career Record
Chelsea
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
271 League appearances; 176 goals
32 FA Cup appearances; 22 goals
14 European appearances; 10 goals
41 + 1 as a sub Other appearances; 43 goals
Brighton & Hove Albion

- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals
Hastings United
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals
Banbury United

- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
- Other appearances; goals

Honours
England international
15 full caps; 13 goals
Under-21 caps; goals
First Division Championship winners medal 1960-1961  (THFC)
FA Cup winners medal 1961, 1962   (THFC)
European Cup-Winners Cup winners medal 1963  (THFC)
Fourth Division Championship winners medal 1964-65  (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Top scorer in First Division - 1957-58  (THFC)

Milestones
- appearance

 

 

What they said about Bobby Smith
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            Appearances

Season League FA Cup European Cup European Cup Winners Cup
1962-63 - (- goals) - - -
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